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463 Ab Imperio, 3/2006 Andre LIEBICH Alexei Miller, Alfred J. Rieber (Eds.), Imperial Rule (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004). 212 pp. Index. ISBN: 9639241 -98-9. One cannot tell a book by its cover but this slim volume lives up to the promise of its sober and stately appearance. As the editors acknowledge, this collection of essays belongs to the sub-genre of “beyond-the-nationstate ” literature. In the West, such writings have been the purview of optimists, typically European Union specialists, who look to a “new (harmonious ) world order.” In the East, they have been the preserve of pessimists , sometimes Russianists, who believe that everywhere beyond the nation state lurks the hoary phantom of empire. For the optimists, empire has struck out, in the American baseball sense of that term. For the pessimists, empire has struck back.1 Judging by the spate of recent publications, the pessimists would seem to have the upper hand. The stalling of the European project and the misadventures of American foreign policy confirm that the irenic “beyond-the-nation-state” hypothesis is untenable. Instead, empire is back. Ab Imperio may be the sigh of the Zeitgeist but Ad Imperium 1 The “strike” image, with its multiple terminological ambiguities and adverbial and propositional variables, has already been applied to discussions of empire. For example, see: Ronald Grigor Suny. The Empire Strikes Out: Imperial Russia, “National” Identity, and Theories of Empire // Ronald Grigor Suny, Terry Martin (Eds.). A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in theAge of Lenin and Stalin. Oxford, 2001, Pp. 23-66. Or, see: Valerie Bunce. The Empire Strikes Back: The Evolution of the Eastern Bloc from a Soviet Asset to a Soviet Liability // International Organization. 1985. Vol. 39. No. 1. Pp. 1-46. R-Forum Old Questions and New Directions in Studies of Empire Старые вопросы и новые направления в исследованиях империи 464 Рецензии/Reviews is the battle cry of the Geisteswissenschaften .2 The sixteen thousand Amazon books with “empire” in the title that Karen Barkey evoked in 2005 appear to have declined a year later to a mere (!) 14,726 but empire studies are still coming at us with the intensity and proportions of an academic tsunami.3 Contemporary political developments as well as this tidal wave of academic research have problematized the notion of empire as inherently complex and infinitely variegated. Astutely, the editors of this volume have therefore focussed on issues of governance rather than on problems of definition . As Benedict Anderson has pointed out in this journal, states that might be thought of as empires have differed so much that they cannot be put under one label.4 This volume reminds us that all empires, however they differ otherwise, have shared the task of governing heterogeneous populations and widespread areas; and recounts how some of them have gone about this task. The ten essays in this volume are divided among those that offer a broad panorama and those that examine the internal workings of imperial rule. To use a well-worn image, some of the authors are “parachute jumpers” and others are “truffle hunters.” The “parachute jumpers” are Norman Stone, Sergei Podbolotov and Murat Yasar in the chapter entitled, “The Russians and the Turks: Imperialism 2 This journal is, of course, in the forefront of publications that both track the progress of “imperiology” and contribute to its growth. Is a name change in order? 3 [Interview with L. Carl Brown, Mark von Hagen, Karen Barkey] In Search of Imperial Legacy: Historians’ Recollections and Historiographic Milestones // Ab Imperio. 2005. No. 4. P. 34. The first six months alone of the year 2006 have seen the publication of three major English-language works with a theoretical thrust on the theme of “empire” by distinguished scholars not previously known as specialists on empire(s): Harold James. The Roman Predicament: How the Rules of International Order Create the Politics of Empire. Princeton, 2006; Charles S. Maier,Among Empires:AmericanAscendancy and its Predecessors. Cambridge, MA, 2006; Jan Zielonka. Europe as Empire: The Nature of the Enlarged European Union. Oxford, 2006. This is not even to mention specialized and diverse works published in the same short period that draw on the empire paradigm, such as Gershom Gorenberg. The Accidental Empire...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 463-468
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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